Probiotic Healthy Chocolate

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Cocoa is KING when it comes to Antioxidants!

What is in cocoa that provides all of these benefits?

Cocoa is a complex food. There are over 300 different components found in cocoa, but the processing methods used play a major role in whether cocoa retains its beneficial properties.

The major components of cocoa are cocoa butter (a neutral fat, consisting of oleic, stearic, and palmitic fatty acids), minerals (copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium), theobromine (and trace amounts of caffeine), and the ―mood chemicals‖—PEA, tyramine, tryptophan, and serotonin.

Actually, this is just a small list of the chemicals found in cocoa.

But we mustn’t overlook the polyphenols contained in cocoa.

Polyphenols are what bring the majority of health benefits from this amazing product. Polyphenols consist of a large class of compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits found in fruits and vegetables.

One class of these polyphenols is called flavonoids, which can be further categorized into smaller families (flavanones, flavones, flavonols, flavanols (flavan-3-ols), anthocyanins, and isoflavones).

Now, we can further break down the flavanol family into (1) single compounds (―monomeric compounds‖ –epicatechins and catechins) and (2) combined compounds (―oligomeric compounds‖—procyanidins). These substances are the true backbone of the health properties of cocoa.

Epicatechin is the predominant polyphenol in cocoa, and accounts for the majority of the health benefits we get when we eat properly processed cocoa. Cocoa is one of the most polyphenol-rich foods to be found anywhere on our glorious green planet. But, some or most of the beneficial components can be stripped away and completely wasted, depending on how the cocoa bean is processed. Lose the valuable chemical components, lose the health benefits.

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